Sir John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl

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Sir John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl

Nicknames: "John Stewart", "1st Earl of Atholl", "Earl of Atholl", "1st earl of atholl"
Birthplace: Balveny, Fifeshire, Scotland
Death: Died in Laighwood, Perthshire, Scotland
Place of Burial: Dunkeld Cathedral Graveyard, Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn and Joan Beaufort, Queen consort of Scots
Husband of Margaret Douglas, Fair Maid of Galloway and Lady Eleanor Sinclair, Countess of Atholl
Father of Isabella Stewart; Jean Stewart, Countess of Huntly; Elisabeth Stewart, Countess of Argyll; Catherine Stewart; Anne Elizabeth and 13 others
Brother of wife of William Gordon of Stitchill; James Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan and Bishop Andrew Moray Stewart
Half brother of Margaret Stewart of Scotland, Dauphine de France; Isabella of Scotland, Duchess of Brittany; Joan Stewart of Scotland, Countess of Morton; Eleanor Stewart; Mary Stewart, Countess of Buchan and 4 others

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About Sir John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl

John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (c. 1440 – 19 September 1512), also known as Sir John Stewart of Balveny, was a Scottish nobleman and ambassador to England (in 1484). ref Duke of Atholl


He was the oldest child of Joan Beaufort, widowed Queen of James I of Scotland, and her second husband Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn.

He was created Earl of Atholl in around 1457, the first Earl of the eighth creation of the title. He is believed to have had a hand in suppressing the rebellion of John Macdonald, 11th Earl of Ross, the last of the Lords of the Isles. According to legend, the Earl of Atholl had whisky, honey and oats added to Macdonald's water well, which so entranced or intoxicated him that Macdonald was easily captured. The mixture became a drink named Atholl Brose.

Stewart was buried in Dunkeld Cathedral in Perthshire.

Marriage and children

John Stewart married twice and had several children. However, the exact number, names and the attribution of his children to their mothers is unclear.

He married firstly, in 1459-1460, Margaret Douglas, Fair Maid of Galloway, daughter of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas. Margaret had been married already to the 8th Earl and possibly the 9th Earl of Douglas. She died between 1473 and 1475.

They had three daughters:

  1. Janet Stewart, married Alexander Gordon, 3rd Earl of Huntly.
  2. Elizabeth Stewart, married Andrew Gray, 2nd Lord Gray.
  3. Christian, married Neil Stewart of Garth.

He married secondly, before April 1475, Eleanor Sinclair (d. 21 March 1518), daughter of William Sinclair, 3rd Earl of Orkney.

They had two sons and nine daughters:

  1. John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Atholl, living 1520, and died before 1522, who married Janet Campbell (died about Candlemas 1545/6), daughter of Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Arygll.
  2. Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Caithness.
  3. Jean (or Janet) Stewart, married by contract dated 31 August 1507, James Arbuthnott of Arbuthnott. He had a crown charter of the feudal barony of Arbuthnott 29 January 1507. He left a testament dated 7 March 1521, and died before 13 March 1521.
  4. .Katherine Stewart, married Sir John Forbes, 6th Lord Forbes.
  5. Elizabeth/Elspeth Stewart, married Sir Robert Innes 2nd of Innermarky.
  6. Marjory Stewart, married Sir Colin Campbell, of Glenorchy.
  7. Margaret Stewart, married Sir William Murray, of Castleton who was killed at Battle of Flodden Duke of Atholl
  8. Elizabeth Stewart, married Alexander Robertson, of Strowan.
  9. Elizabeth (or Isabel) Stewart, married John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Lennox
  10. Jean Stewart, married Robert Gordon, Knt., of Pitlurg.
  11. Margaret Stewart, married Robert Robertson younger, of Strowan.


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Sir John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl's Timeline

May 15, 1438
Balveny, Fifeshire, Scotland
Age 19
Age 20
Age 21
Traquair, Peeblesshire, Scotland, (Present UK)
Age 23
Traquair, Peeblesshire, Scotland
Age 25
Traquair, Peeblesshire, Scotland
Age 26
Tullibardine, Perthshire, Scotland
Age 28
Age 33